Frank Herbert's Dune - The Spence Edit Revised

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(Updated: February 20, 2022)
Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Frank Herbert’s Dune is a faithful adaptation of the novel, overall. I really enjoyed Spence's original edit of this television miniseries. It has sat next to Spicediver's edit of the 1984 David Lynch film for years.

Spence's revised edit allows the story to breathe by showing (instead of telling) in just a few hours. The edit explores the political, religious, and mystical elements in detail. Paul and Jessica’s journey through the sand dunes of Arrakis, establishes the desert dwelling Fremen culture through detailed scenes of their ritual and customs and gives plenty of necessary screentime to the character of Chani, the Fremen woman whom Paul first meets in his dreams and with whom, falls in love. Everything is told in a cohesive manner.

The color regrade works beautifully. The golds and indigos for Emperor Shaddam IV’s palace and deep reds for House Harkonnen are more vibrant. Also, visually striking is the intense blue glow of Fremen eyes that adds a unique mystical characteristic to these characters and the world they inhabit.

Spence took the time to painstakingly crop each frame to create a more realistic cinema experience. I can't fathom the time and effort required to pull off this endeavor.

Spence used the Children of Dune score which was a stroke of genius. Now present is a greater sense of tension and urgency than was present in the original production. This alone, has the desired effect of causing the viewer to enjoy a cinema type experience and changes the entire ambience.

Overall, Frank Herbert’s Dune was originally a puzzling, at times frustrating effort. It was satisfying to see such a faithful adaptation, yet disheartening to see that the story wasn’t given the proper production that Dune desperately deserved. Spence has created the movie that the miniseries could have been.

I wonder if it was my familiarity with the world of Dune, or if it was Spence's edit overpowering its limitations—the ultimate triumph of storytelling over form, where stories themselves contain the power to enlighten, compel, and transcend their medium and resonate on intellectual, emotional, and spiritual levels that caused Spence's edit to come to life as the best version of Dune.

It’s difficult to put into words, but it’s something that I feel every time I experience a compelling story.

Spence has edited this mini-series in a manner in which the narrative comes to life and displays that timeless power of story to speak to us in ways beyond conventional means we are familiar with and immerse us into a journey through a strange and magical world. I love it! I am honored to be a small part of it!

The best version of Dune! Highly recommended!

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Overall rating
 
9.8
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
This is a superb remake (including re-arranging the storytelling) of the "Dune" miniseries starring Alec Newman as Paul Atreides / Muad'dib. As a personal note, I think Saskia Reeves is the best actress to impersonate Lady Jessica, with Rebecca Ferguson a close second. This particular fanedit, "The Spence Edit Revised," cuts down the miniseries to under 3 hours while keeping major plot points from Frank Herbert's first two books, "Dune" and "Children of Dune." Sadly, the TV miniseries stopped producing the entire story, or at least filming the first four novels. Indeed, many famous people tried (and failed) their hand at "Dune" - including Salvador Dali! The Spence Edit takes the story as much as it was portrayed. We just have to wait and see if the current cinematic efforts expand beyond the TV series. The Spence Edit provides an excellent introduction to the Dune universe. 10/10 I would rewatch.

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Owner's reply December 19, 2021

Thanks for reviewing! Glad you liked it.

M
1 reviews
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Overall rating
 
9.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
What a save - a great edit!
As the best way to watch more of the Dune story than the movies ever touched, the original tv series was still a slog. But Spence saves the day with a digestible Dune story that does great covering the source material without the typical TV padding and fluff.
In general, I am not a fan of the original series, and the Caladan scenes are still so obviously low budget tv, but once we get to Arrakis and past the story already covered in Villeneuve's Part 1 movie, the production quality fit so well for the story, mostly due to the cinematic LUTs that were masterfully implemented here. Technical aspects and narrative pacing are suburb, as always from this great editor!

Definitely the best way to watch the FULL Dune story (or at least the most so far) - highly recommended!

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Overall rating
 
9.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Dune 2000 is one I've always found hard to enjoy. What is good about it is the strenght of the story as told in the book, but taken as cinema... it just lays there, in the best of cases. It lacks a grandiose directorial vision beyond going through the motions (say whatever you want about the Lynch version, but you can't deny that it looks and feels majestic), and that's without even taking into account the horrendous CGI, the "exteriors shot in a soundstage" factor, the supremely silly costumes, the uneven pacing, and the wrongness of quite a few of the performances (Paul being the worst offender - from the start I thought the actor would have made a better Feyd).

But along came Spence, and the clips he posted on the forum with his version of certain scenes were a real eye-opener. Somehow, it all now felt way more exciting than I ever expected it to feel. And after watching the full edit, my best hopes were confirmed. While nothing can really be done about the worst visual aspects listed above, the spice of this cut does flow much better than it used to, and even Paul finally feels pretty much like Paul. It's true, though, that as other reviewers have mentioned the edit really finds its legs from the second act on (more due to the source than to the editing), and it is also true that I didn't think all of the changes worked for the best (for example, I think opening on Paul's vision was a better start, cinematically speaking, than doing so on the Reverend Mother Mohiam arriving on Caladan, which is of course the start of the book but is filmed in such a flat way that it lacks the power to hook the viewer from the get-go), but this is now a whole lot closer to how I imagine Dune. And it even manages to feel a bit more grandiose due to the excellently executed reframing to a wider aspect ratio and the color correction. Less obviously TV-ish, fortunately.

Thanks to Spence this sleeper has awakened. This is a clear replacement of the original for me, and will stand proudly on my shelf next to Spicediver's cut of the Lynch film. Highly recommended.
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Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
I'll start of with his was a good watch overall. The technical aspects of cutting, reframing, color correction, and rescoring are near flawless. There's one scene I could tell was an extended cut bit, but it was blended pretty well--there's only what the source material offers to work with.

The cuts largely worked. The further into the story you go the smoother they get. Early on it felt a bit choppy to me and almost seemed rushed. I had a little feeling of rushing to get to Arrakis to move to that story and some of the foundational early plot got short shrift. That may partly be my being more recently familiar with edits of the movies (Lynch & Villeneuve) and the books. Once the Atreides get to Arrakis pacing smooths out and the story flows better.

So while it isn't a perfect experience for me, it's still enjoyable to watch overall and still recommended.

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